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A mother of twins in Kentucky is raising her hand to help parents like her who are searching and suffering amid today nationwide baby formula shortage.
Cierra Vos said she’s determined to ensure that babies are fed as she navigates the challenge of feeding her own kids, a boy and a girl, just 9 months old.
On a quest for formula, Cierra Vos, 26, a medical lab technician from rural Union County, Kentucky, drove to three different cities up to one hour away.
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After all that, she and her husband, Dalton Vos, were able to track down only two cans of the brand they use.
“We panicked,” Cierra Vos told Fox News Digital. “We realized it was going to be a problem finding more.”
The couple’s twins, Rollyn and Landrie, were at one point served formula plus breast milk. When Vos tried to switch them to another brand, they started having poor stools, she said.
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Now, they’ve served a more expensive brand that does not give them acid reflux and digestive problems, according to Vos, who stopped breastfeeding when she went back to work.
“You might get three days out of [one can]but that’s pushing it. “
You spend $ 30- $ 35 for a 19.5 ounce can of formula.
She goes through one can in two days, using roughly five scoops for a 7-ounce bottle – that amount doubles since she’s feeding twins.
Vos said, “You might get three days out of [one can]but that’s pushing it. “
“For the majority of infants, changing brands of standard formula will not have adverse consequences,” Jenelle Ferry, MD, neonatologist and director of feeding, nutrition and infant development at Pediatrix Neonatology of Florida, told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“In cases of infants on specialty formulas, like hydrolyzed formulas, check with your pediatrician for other brand options with similar characteristics,” she also said.
Ferry noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against attempting to make your own formula.
“I’m pretty stocked up now, but I’m trying to use it scarcely. That way, I can give it to someone who is in need more than I am.”
In addition, excess water in baby formulas can “slow growth and development” or “lead to major health problems including seizures,” according to the AAP.
It recommends following manufacturer instructions when preparing formulas.
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Vos said her saving grace has been her mother-in-law, Tracy Cheatham, who has been sending her formula for the twins through the mail from Central Florida.
“I’m pretty stocked up now, but I’m trying to use it scarcely,” Vos said. “That way, I can give it to someone who is in need more than I am.”
Vos said she’s been connecting with other parents on Facebook – exchanging ideas on how to combat the shortage by keeping one another informed on locations that have formula in stock.
“It’s very disheartening. You walk in there – a lot of your cheaper formula is gone and a lot of your high-end, natural natural is on the shelf,” she added. “As far as your big cans or boxes, that’s gone.”
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Recently, Vos has been trying to lend support to a mother of newborn twins.
Vos and Cheatham (her mother-in-law) have been hunting for the woman baby formula brand in stores.
Cheatham told Fox News Digital that the woman uses food stamps and is part of the WIC (the government-run Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children ages 5 and under).
“If they just can’t find it anywhere else, I’ll go out, ship it. It’s the least I can do to make sure these babies have formula.”
“If someone is dependent on WIC, they have to walk in a store. That’s the only place where they can physically get [formula]”Cheatham said.
“Unfortunately, like the young lady Cierra was trying to help, [parents on WIC] can’t go online and order the formula because [those outlets] don’t take WIC. “
Cheatham said she’s had luck ordering formula on Amazon, where it is possible to sign up for alerts to learn when brands are in stock.
She ended up sending the woman with newborn twins a package of formula similar to the brand her own twin grandchildren use, as that was the only option Cheatham found in stock.
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So far, Cheatham has not run into issues buying bulk packages through Amazon; both she and Vos said they’re thankful the twin babies will be weaned off formula soon.
“I have already felt the obligation to send [my son and daughter-in-law] diapers or formula, but to have someone who does not have the finances to be able to do that or someone who does not have the support system to be able to do that, I can see these mothers saying, ‘What do I do? ‘ I can not imagine being a mother right now. “
Cheatham said she will continue offering to help strangers amid the shortage.
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“If they just can’t find it anywhere else, I’ll go out, ship it,” she added. “It’s the least I can do to make sure these babies have formula.”
Vos echoed the words of her mother-in-law – offering help to other parents any way she can.
“I hope they do not go unfed,” she said of young children.
“My heart hurts for that. Check with your pediatrician. Check with your milk banks. Breast milk is being donated every single day.”
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Vos added, “Between my mother, my mother-in-law and my husband, we will do everything we can in our power to help find something because we know how it feels first hand.”
Vos said she encourages Americans to “buy what they need” to in hopes of giving all parents better access to formula.